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Graduation season is upon us. Corporate recruiters will soon be flooded with resumes from eager young people looking to land their first jobs. But their job hunt may take a while. That’s because more than half of U.S. employers surveyed say they are struggling to find qualified applicants to fill the positions they have open, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Incredibly, by 2020, there will be 55 million job openings, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce. However, the U.S. will fall short, by 5 million, of the number of workers we will need with post-secondary educations. Our nation’s persistent skills gap, or the mismatch between employers’ needs for skilled talent and the skills possessed by the available workforce, has a direct effect on the U.S. economy. Reduced productivity from unfilled jobs resulted in almost $160 billion in lost revenue in 2014, according to Indeed.com.

A workforce of high school graduates armed with relevant skills and credentials is critical for 21st century competitiveness. Yet, as I’ve learned through my work on the Board of the National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) for the past 14 years, remarkably, nearly one in four high school student dropouts surveyed say relevant, real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in school.

Read the full article in Enterprise Services Outlook Magazine.

About The Author

Stuart Udell

Stuart J. Udell joined K12 as the company’s Chief Executive Officer in February 2016. Mr. Udell brings significant strategic and operational experience to K¹² in the education industry, amassed over a 27-year career. Most recently, Mr. Udell served as Executive Chairman and prior as Chief Executive Officer of Catapult Learning, Inc., a privately held provider of instructional services, professional development, and operator of schools. Prior to joining Catapult Learning, Mr. Udell was the President of Postsecondary Education at The Princeton Review. He was concurrently the Chief Executive Officer of Penn Foster, a global leader in high school and career-focused online learning, which he sold to The Princeton Review. Mr. Udell spent eleven years at Kaplan, most recently as President of Kaplan K¹² Learning Services, where he built the K-12 school division. From 1997-2001, Mr. Udell was President of the School Renaissance Institute, the training, publishing, and research subsidiary of Renaissance Learning. Since 2002, Mr. Udell has served on the board of directors of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (Clemson University), where he was recently recognized for his contributions as Chairman. Mr. Udell holds a MBA from Columbia University and a BS from Bucknell University.

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